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Harvey hits Mississippi roads: what to expect

As Harvey, which has been downgraded to a tropical depression, makes its way into the Magnolia State, there are a few things to be aware of according to the Mississippi Highway Patrol and AAA.

AAA Mississippi spokesperson Don Redmon said prices at the pump could see an increase thanks to the storm.

“Even though we’re expecting a hike in gas prices of up to 15 or 20 cents higher, it should be short lived,” said Redmon.

Redmon added that initial reports out of Corpus Christi, Texas show that refineries there are in decent condition, and should be back up and running very quickly after the storm.

“They were in fairly well shape,” said Redmon. “And they should back up and running in the next week or so… so in mid-September we could see the prices go back down.”

News Mississippi had received reports of gas stations rationing gasoline. Redmon said while it isn’t unheard of, it should be an uncommon occurrence this far east of Texas.

“That would not be surprising, especially in impacted areas,” said Redmon. “But outside of the affected areas, we shouldn’t see that much past east Texas and West Louisiana… we had a good supply of gasoline prior to the storm.”

Again, that’s another issue Redmon said will be short-lived.

The Environmental Protection Agency has taken measures to ensure an adequate gas supply.

As a result of the continuing impacts on Gulf Coast-area refineries and disruption to the fuel distribution system caused by Hurricane Harvey, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt today exercised EPA’s emergency fuel waiver authority to help ensure an adequate supply of fuel throughout the South, Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic, according to a release by the EPA.

EPA has waived requirements for reformulated gasoline and low volatility gasoline through September 15 in the following states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, Louisiana and the District of Columbia.

The waiver authority was exercised under the Clean Air Act and was granted by EPA Administrator Pruitt, in coordination with the U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.

As required by law, EPA and Department of Energy (DOE) evaluated the situation and determined that granting a short-term waiver was consistent with the public interest.

EPA and DOE are continuing to actively monitor the fuel supply situation as a result of Hurricane Harvey, and will act expeditiously if extreme and unusual supply circumstances exist in other areas.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol said the threats of Harvey in the state are much more immediate.

“If we’re dealing with heavy rainfall, we’re asking drivers to maintain a lower speed,” said Capt. Johnny Polous with MHP. “Make sure you’re checking your windshield wipers, that they’re in good order, and your tire tread is deep enough.”

Polous added that the most common cause of accident during a severe weather event is hydroplaning.

“In those cases they lose control, which could result in a severe crash or even loss of life,” said Polous.

Polous added that highway patrol is also working with local officials to determine if evacuation measures will need to be enacted due to flooding.

 

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